There are 8 live stages in total; these are the stages a person goes through during the course of their life. These stages are conception, pregnancy, birth and infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, older adulthood and the final stages of life.
Conception and Pregnancy
Conception is when a live sperm penetrates a newly released mature egg successfully and the cells begin to multiply. The sperm meets the egg during sexual intercourse when thousands of sperm are released into the woman’s vagina. It only takes one of these sperm to penetrate the egg, but even if intercourse takes place at the correct time in a perfectly healthy couple there is only a 30% chance of the woman becoming pregnant.
Once the egg is fertilized it continues its journey to the womb, which usually takes a couple of days. When it gets there it embeds itself into the lining of the womb.
The two cells, the egg and sperm, a known as haploid cells, when they fuse together they are called a zygote and are now a single haploid cell. The word Zygote comes from the Greek word “zugotos” which simply means joined.
The zygote is now dividing rapidly into a hollow ball of unspecialized stem cells; this is now known as an embryo. The embryo continues to grow and develop rapidly, it starts to look more like a baby and grows organs and features at different stages of development; it is now known as a feotus.
Growth is the process of single organism changing due to an unfolding of events biologically, for example an infant growing taller.
Development is another form of growth but is usually seen in stages, like the development of PIES which goes up in stages of what a child is expected to be able compared to age.
A lot of physical, intellectual, emotional and social development takes place during the first 18 months of life, this is know as infancy development.
The average weight of a newborn which is full term is approximately 7 1/2 lbs, and the average body length is 14-20 inches.
When a baby is born it carries with them several reflexes with are already natural to them. A reflex is an involuntary action or movement. Some of these occur as part of the baby’s usual activity, and others are responses to certain actions, such as a loud noise. Reflexes held identify normal brain and nerve activity and this means they only occur during certain stages of development. The are 7 known relaxes a baby is born with, theses are the root reflex, this reflex occurs when the corner of a babies mouth is touched, the feeling of this causes the baby to turn the head to follow where the touching is coming from, this helpful when the baby is trying to fin a bottle or mothers breast during breast feeding. The second reflex is the sucking reflex, this a follow on from the root reflex, when the baby senses the root reflex the sucking reflex also come is the play and the baby will start sucking even if the bottle/breast isn’t there. The third reflex is the Moro reflex, or the startle reflex, this reflex occurs when the baby is startled by loud noises or movement, the baby throws their head back and extends their arms and legs then cries. Tonic neck reflex occurs when a babies head is turned in one direction the arm on that side stretches out and the opposite arm bends at the elbow. The grasp reflex occurs when the babies hand is stroked the babies hand closes.
Infancy is the developmental stage form the ages of 0 to 3 years, and is a stage where rapid growth occurs.
As children grow up they go through stages known as developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are a set of skills which are age specific, as a child grows they learn new skills, these skills are learnt at certain ages and developmental milestones help your GP make sure your child is developing at a normal rate. These milestones are only there as a rough estimate as every child is an individual and will not all learn to do things at the same rate. Some children may have problems, such as autism and downs syndrome which delay development, with autism it is not known the child has it until the delay in development is noticed.
0 – 18 months
Early on in life a baby’s height and weight increases at a dramatic pace. So dramatic that during the first month they can gain up to 2 pounds. As their bodies grow so do their heads, and their head circumference can increase by as much as half an inch a month, this is because the bones of the skull haven’t fused together properly giving the brain room to grow. By 4 months most babies have doubled in weight, because they are growing so much babies need more calories and nutrients per pound of body weight than adults, this is why babies have “puppy fat”.
Average heights for girls and boys up to the age of 3 years is shown in figure 1, and the average weights for girls and boys is shown in figure 2.
Up until the age of 3 a child has regular checkups, at these checkups a child’s height and weight is recorded and marked on a chart, the chart shows the average height and weight of a child and two more lines, one above and one below the average showing what is normal for a healthy baby. There is one for males and one for females as the average boy is heavier and taller than the average girl. An example of a growth chart is shown in figure 3.
As children go though their milestones they learn motor skills, these motor skills are either fine motor skills, or gross motor skills. Fine motor skills, also known as, fine manipulative skills, are skills which require small muscle movements, such as using hands to do small tasks, an example of a fine manipulative skills could be treading beads onto a piece of string or such like tasks. Gross motor skills are skills which require large muscle movements such as the arms and legs used for large movements, such as walking or riding a bike.
Most of the intellectual development which takes place up to the age of 18 months is speech development.
By the age of 18 months a child should be able to say 8-10 words clearly and will look at a person talking 2 them. They will also be able to say “Hi” and “Bye” if reminded to. Also they will be able to ask for something by pointing and saying one word.
Other intellectual development which takes place up to the age of 18 months, are things such as playing games, games like “Peek-a-boo”, and also looks for objects when they are put out of sight. Also children now like taking things apart, such as toys, this is why some toys come with warning on them that they are not to be given to children under the age of 3 years, as small bits can be taken off them and put into their mouths and therefore can be swallowed. Children also learn to follow simple on step instructions and begin to understand the meaning of the word no.
Children now also begin to be able to point out objects in books, this is why it’s important to introduce children to books at such young ages, as the earlier the learn to recognise objects the earlier they begin to recognise words by matching them with the pictures. This is the beginning of the learning to read process.
Emotional development up to the age of 18 months is basically just the attachment of relationships and bonding between child and carer. Between the ages of 2 and 3 months a child learns to understand the word “I” and recognises that you exist and are separate from others.
Between the ages of 9 and 12 months a child begins to learn to recognise themselves in a mirror or photo, this is developing self awareness and this lead to self concept. Self concept is made up of two things which together give us the way we think of ourselves, these two things are, self-esteem; how we value ourselves, and self-image; people’s reactions to us.
During the first month of life not much social development takes place as the child is very young, but during the first month a newborn begins to smile, although the first time a child smiles it’s not usually directed at anyone, by the end of the first month a child will aim smiles at specific people.
Between 6 and 9 months a child begins to show increased fears of strangers, and may cry when their parent or career leaves the room, but then by the age of 18 months a child will happily wonder away from their parent or career, for more in dependant exploration of the their surrounding area but will stay close when not in a familiar environment.
As they become more independent children tend to want to play on their own more and less with their parent or career.
19 months to 3 years
By 19 months a child’s growth has slowed down, although they are still growing rapidly, the statistics are again shown in figures 1, 2, and 3.
By 24 months most infants are able to run, climb, kick and throw a ball under arm, these are all gross motor skills. The fine motor skill an infant up to the age of 24 months should be able to do are use a fork and spoon, scribble with a crayon, build a small tower of about 3 bricks and remove clothing with help. Another physical thing a child of 24 months is able to do is see as far as an adult as their eyes become stronger.
By 2 and a half years a child should jump, run faster, climb higher, kick and throw a ball further, these are gross motor skills. By 2 and a half years a child should be able 2 dress and undress themselves with help, they should also be able to wash and dry their hands and brush their teeth with help, all of which are fine motor skills.
By their 3rd birthday most infants are able to build a tower of about 6 bricks and use scissors, both of these are fine motor skills. Also by their 3rd birthday a child should be able to stand on one leg and throw over arm both of these being gross motor skills.
By the age of 2 an infant should be able to follow simple instructions, name a growing number of everyday objects, such as drink, and also body parts. They should also be able to recognize when something is wrong.
By three years old and infant should be able to name colours and people, know how a few simple everyday objects are used and also should be able to understand more complex instructions.
During the second year of life an infant’s emotional development develops rapidly as they develop strong emotions, these emotions include anger and rage, which are often expressed on forms of temper tantrums; this is where the phrase terrible twos comes from.
During the first few years of life it is important that the infant begins to learn the social norms of society so they can socialize properly when they begin school, this is mainly down to the parents unless the child attends a crï¿½che, day care centre or something similar. The child learns how to respect and value people and objects and learns the sorts of behaviors that are acceptable and the ones which aren’t.
Between the ages of four and nine whist children are in the stage of childhood, a lot of physical, intellectual, emotional and social development occurs. This is the age range in which a lot of changes take place in a child’s life, such as starting school. When a child starts school, a lot of dramatic changes takes place, the child will get stronger, more sociable, and obviously more intellectual. Also during school a child becomes more emotionally stable.
While at school children’s development will vary in comparison to the other children in their class, this is because not everyone develops at the same rate some are early developments and others are late developers. In the average class there can be a height difference of up to 12.5cms.
Also between these ages a child physique changes as the body fat the have as a child “puppy fat” becomes more evenly distributed and their legs grow longer, this gives them a slimmer looking physique and they also become faster at running and are able to jump and throw further.
A child also get a better sense of balance and is therefore able to stand on one leg for longer and balance on a beam for a longer period of time. They may also gain the ability to do more gymnastic movements such as headstands and handstands. The ability to balance also means a child is capable to learn to ride a bike without stabilizers.
Not only are their gross motor skills developing but also their fine motor skills, Children should now be capable of fastening shoelaces and small buttons. A child’s ability to use cutlery also improves as they gain more control over their own hands, this also means their ability to use scissors and such like instruments improves, as does the ability to work with small objects such as model parts and Lego.
Other physiological effects which may take place to the appearance of the child are teeth falling out, as new teeth grow the child’s milk teeth fall out, the age at which this starts depends on the child and how well the look after their milk teeth. A child’s face also gets thinner as the child grows; this is because the “puppy fat” around the cheeks begins to disappear. Sometimes the babies face shape doesn’t actually change but just comes more into proportion with the rest of the child. Also hair colours tends to get darker, a child who is born with blonde hair tends to have darker hair when they grow older, hair can also go from curly to straight or straight to curly.
Up until about the age of 7 girls and boys both grow at similar rates, although this rate varies from person to person, however when a child reaches the age of about 7 the rate at which they grow varies depending on whether they are male or female, Females tend to grow at a quicker rate than boys at primary school age, and although most males end up being taller than females, females have their growth spurts early.
By the age of nine children continue to grow in size, strength and co-ordination, with all their gross and fine motor skills becoming stronger. Handwriting becomes a lot neater as they get older as they have more control over their hands, also this sense of co-ordination helps them to play sports such as swimming, tennis and football, and also helps them in activities such as painting, model making and playing musical instruments.